Some Practical Advice

Weavers who spin (and spinners who weave) have the power to make cloth that is unique from fiber to finish. But weaving requires different yarn properties than knitting or crochet. Sara Lamb has created gorgeous cloth and clothing from her handspun yarn for decades, and now she has shared her experience and insight in a new video. Here's Liz Gipson to tell you all about it. –Anita


  Some of Sara Lamb's samples
  One of Sara's not-so-secret secrets to successfully
weaving cloth from handspun yarn is to plan
carefully and sample, sample, sample 

In her new book, Spin to Weave, Sara Lamb looks at cloth-making in a way that shouldn't seem so radical, but to many spinners and weavers, it is. Instead of starting with fiber and asking herself what can she make from it, she starts with what she wants to make and then looks for the right fiber to get the job done. Many of us (me included) just want to spin and then figure out what the yarn will be later.


All yarn is not suited to all cloth. We know this, but we proceed nonetheless. I recall threading up an 8-shaft pattern in handspun cashmere and seeing the pattern disappear in the cashmere’s halo. What was I thinking? The truth is, I wasn't.


Sara advocates for a process that many of us rebel against—decide on a final project, select the materials and techniques to get it done, sample, then sample again, execute, and then use what we learned to inform our next project. In my experience, this is not because we are ignorant to the process or don't understand its value, it's because we don't know how to work the system effectively. Sara gives you the information you need to make this system work.


Sara's handspun and roving  
Sara also discusses the many ways you can add
color to your handspun yarn 
 

What you learn is more than just how to weave cloth from handspun yarn: you learn Sara's method for weaving cloth that she has perfected over decades of clothmaking and teaching. You learn to select the fiber, match it with the fiber preparation and spinning technique to create yarn that will suit the final cloth and its intended use. This may seem like an overwhelming world of possibilities, but Sara makes the road easier to travel by giving you a set of parameters to work within.


Included are eleven of Sara's woven projects with not quite-step-by-step instructions, but all the information you need to replicate the cloth. Pick one of these projects, follow her process, and you will soon be weaving the cloth you always wanted to make, but couldn’t quite get to on your own.  

—Liz 

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